Thursday, January 24, 2013

Would I Serve God For Nothing?

I recently read again the story of Chippie, the parakeet.  Chippie was enjoying the good life, when his owner decided to clean his cage with a vacuum.  She had just stuck the nozzle in to suck up the seeds and feathers on the bottom of the cage when the phone rang.  Instinctively she turned to pick it up, and had barely begun to say, “Hello,” when–sswwwwwpppppppp!  Chippie was sucked in.  She gasped, let the phone drop, and switched off the vacuum.  With her heart in her mouth, she unzipped the bag.

There was Chippie–alive but stunned–covered with heavy gray dust.  She grabbed him and rushed to the bathtub, turned on the faucet full blast, and held Chippie under a torrent of cold water, as she power washed him clean.  Then it dawned on her that Chippie was soaking wet and shivering.  So se did what any compassionate pet owner would do; she snatched up the hair dryer and blasted him with hot air.  Chippie survived, but he doesn’t talk much anymore.  He just sits and stares a lot.

Job must have felt a lot like Chippie.  Life was good until one day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them. And the Lord said to Satan, “From where do you come?” Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it.” And the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil.”

Satan answered God with a question– “Does Job serve you for nothing?”  Satan was accusing Job of serving God because of the blessings God had bestowed upon him.  That begs the question–would I serve God for nothing?  Is my followship dependent upon God’s protecting me and my family?  Does it depend upon my health, wealth, position, or influence? 

The hard truth is that faith cannot be proven by prosperity. Anybody can praise the Lord as long as everything is going the way they want. Even a lost person can praise God.  But what if the opposite is true? What if suddenly the life is filled with tragedy that you don’t deserve?  I think the New Testament commentary on this is found in Hebrews Chapter 12.

When we find ourselves in situations like Job, the first thing we need to acknowledge is that is God, and because He is God, He has the right to do what ever He chooses. Who am I, a fragile created being, to question His doings. 

But I gain great comfort in knowing that God also has a reason for what He does.  I might not know, or understand it this side of Glory, but I’m confident that He has a purpose.  The writer of Hebrews made it clear in Chapter 12, and Job affirmed it in Job 42:2 when he said, “I know that you can do all things, and no purpose of yours can be hindered.”

The three Israelite children testified to the pagan king before they were cast into the fiery furnace, “Our God is able to deliver us, and He will, but if He doesn’t, we will still serve Him.”    I pray that my followship, and yours, is not dependent upon what God is doing for us right now, but rather I pray that it is dependent upon the sure knowledge that He is able, and He will, but if He doesn’t He has a purpose beyond that which I can understand at this point, and I’m simply going to trust Him.

From "A Word For Living" by Mike Rasberry

©                        Mike Rasberry                               2013

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